Speaker of the House John Boehner attends a press conference on Capitol Hill on December 11, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images
January 8, 2015

A few days after enduring an embarrassing number of defections in his reelection race for House Speaker, Ohio Rep. John Boehner told reporters Thursday that he is “the most anti-establishment speaker we’ve ever had.”

The 25 Republican defections were the most against a sitting Speaker since 1923, according to National Journal, although the opposition was unorganized and not considered anything more than a symbolic protest by mostly conservatives.

Boehner said that the American people are “very frustrated” and that “they need to take it out on somebody” before touting his conservative voting record.

“It does pain me to be described as spineless or a squish,” said Boehner, hitting a sarcastic note before turning more serious. “And I tell you what pains me the most is when they describe me as the establishment.”

“Now, I’m the most anti-establishment speaker we’ve ever had,” said Boehner, who was first elected in 1990. “Who was the guy who got rid of earmarks? Me. Who’s the guy who believes in regular order? Me. Who believes in allowing more members to participate in a process from both sides of the aisle. Me. I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin and I’m going to do my best to show all of our members—Democrats and Republicans and members who voted against me that I’m up to the job that I was given.”

Contact us at editors@time.com.

Read More From TIME